Author Archives: From Poverty to Power

You say you want a Revolution? The Beatles on How Change Happens

Blog break over – did you miss me? Thought not. After a month in writing purdah, I sent off the How Change Happens manuscript to OUP last week, so it is now their problem (for a couple of months at least). So let’s get restarted with a spot of whimsy. One of the ideas that never made it into the final draft of the book was a …

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Links I Liked (and videos I valued)

Today is ‘Blue Monday’, supposedly the most miserable day of the year (actually just something dreamt up in 2005 by a holiday firm as a marketing ploy). But in any case, allow me to make it even worse with this truly awful video [h/t or possibly eternal damnation to Tim Aldred for sending it]. ‘We love the SDGs’. Take it away. Please

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How many readers? Where from? What were their favourite posts? Report back on 2015 on FP2P

Hi there, I’m briefly emerging from writing purdah to do the usual feedback post on last year’s blog 2015 stats: Overall: 318, 825 ‘unique visitors’ – not quite the same as ‘different readers’, as if you read the blog on your PC, laptop and mobile, that counts as 3 people.  Within the year, the usual trend – a weekly cycle of low weekend reads, and …

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Links I Liked (and happy Christmas Elsie)

Wonderful readers’ selection of their favourite New Yorker cartoons. Enjoy.  What Should We Do About Inequality? Fascinating reflection from Harvard’s Ricardo Hausman ‘Since our campaign, we had seen a 90% reduction in LRA killings’. Relive the mind-blowing hubris of Invisible Children (of Kony 2012 fame), and a classic illustration of failing to distinguish between causation and correlation 100 key research questions for the post-2015 development agenda.

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What happened when we put a draft book online and asked for comments? Report back on How Change…

So the consultation on the draft of my forthcoming How Change Happens book is over, the draft has been removed from the website (if you want to read it, you’ll have to wait til the book comes out next October). How did it go? The draft went live at the end of October, allowing for six weeks of consultation before last Thursday’s deadline. In that …

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How to ensure increased aid to fragile/conflict states actually benefits poor people?

Following the UK government’s announcement of an increase in spending on aid for fragile states, Ed Cairns, outlines Oxfam’s experience in fragile states and the potential lessons for the future. The announcement that the UK will spend 50% of its aid budget in fragile states was made in the aftermath of the terrible atrocities in Paris, Beirut and Bamako. But it’s also the latest step in development agencies …

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Will the Sustainable Development Goals make a difference on the ground?

I’ve long been baffled/appalled by the lack of decent research on the impact of the MDGs at national level. Sure there’s lots of data gathering, and reports on how fast access to education or health is improving or poverty is falling, but that’s definitely not the same thing as finding out whether/how the MDGs in particular are responsible for the changes (rather than, say, economic …

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How on earth can you measure resilience? A wonk Q&A

Resilience is one of today’s omnipresent development fuzzwords, applied to individuals, communities, businesses, countries, ideas and just about everything else. But how can it best be measured? To plug their new paper on the topic, Oxfam’s measurement wonks Jonathan Lain (left) and Rob Fuller (right) argue with their imaginary non-wonk friend…… So they’ve let the beancounters loose on resilience now. Do we really have to …

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Why Paris must succeed – a brilliant video message from space

Heading into the final 24 hours (ahem…) of the Paris Climate Change negotiations, I wish the sleep deprived ministers and sherpas on whose decisions our collective fate rests could find 8 minutes to watch this brilliant message from the world’s astronauts And here’s Alex Evans with a bit of background

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How assets + training can transform the lives of ultra-poor women: new evidence from Bangladesh

People are often very rude about ‘big push’ approaches to development – the idea that you can kickstart a country (or a millennium village) by simultaneously shoving in piles of different projects, technical assistance and cash. The approach hasn’t got a great track record, but now a kind of micro Big Push, targeting the ‘ultra poor’ in a range of countries, is showing some really …

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Four Years On, The World Has Changed on Disability

Tim Wainwright, CEO of ADD International (& also chair of BOND), finds much to celebrate today Four years ago I wrote a blog, expressing my concern about how I felt that mainstream development was largely overlooking a large and highly excluded group: persons with disabilities. [Quick note on terminology: we use the term ‘persons with disabilities’ to reflect the UNCRPD terminology, but we recognise that disability …

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How will the Paris attacks affect the outcome of the Climate Change talks?

When British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan was asked what he most feared in politics, he replied ‘Events, dear boy. Events’. The official sherpas and their political masters preparing for the global climate change talks in Paris, which start today, must be feeling much the same way, their already complicated task further beset by concerns over security, following the appalling attacks on Friday 13th. Beyond questions …

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The Adaptation Gap (and how to deal with it)

Ben Ramalingam, newly appointed leader of the Digital and Technology cluster at IDS, and author of Aid on the Edge of Chaos, shares some thoughts on ‘adaptive management’. Over the next few weeks, Duncan has agreed to run a series of posts by participants in the recent USAID-IDS workshop on adaptive management, to share their ideas, insights and suggestions. As co-designer and facilitator of the workshop, …

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What’s changed since Copenhagen? Curtain raiser for the Paris climate talks  

Tracy Carty, Oxfam Climate Change Policy Adviser, with an excerpt from its Paris media briefing, published today The last time leaders got together to agree a global climate deal it ended in multilateral meltdown.  Copenhagen was widely condemned as a failure – a failure that still haunts the climate negotiations, and one that governments meeting in Paris next week will not want to repeat. Six …

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